Can a nylon-string guitar go to 11? Absolutely.With flying fingers and callouses that could probably withstand a blowtorch, Rodrigo Y Gabriela offer today’s best exposition of the pyrotechnic, fusion-oriented edge of Spanish-style guitar-playing. While casual fans may miss the novelty of the duo’s more familiar classic-rock covers, these 11 originals show the duo expanding its sonic palette. The album's hottest scorcher features the sinewy metallic playing of an unlikely guest Alex Skolnick of Testament.
Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quinetro started off playing heavy metal in Mexico City. Then they become an acoustic guitar duo, mixing jazz and Latin influences with bluesy riffs, and moved to Ireland, where they became superior buskers before conquering the world's concert halls. But their second live album, released last year, sounded like a stopgap.
In the liner notes to their eponymous debut album, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero make the point that "A lot of people, when describing our sound, say we play flamenco. We don't. We blend a lot of styles into our playing, but this area of music is not one of them." In the three years since the release of Rodrigo y Gabriela, the Mexican duo has become one of the most exciting live acts on the circuit thanks to fluid, rapid-fire guitar play and stylistic experimentation.